Prosecutors don't plan to charge roommates with killing Wone

By Keith L. Alexander
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, March 13, 2010

Federal prosecutors said in court Friday that they presently have no plans to charge any of the three defendants already facing obstruction counts in the death of District lawyer Robert Wone with his actual slaying.

At a hearing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Glenn L. Kirschner told D.C. Superior Court Judge Lynn Leibovitz that his office does not think that the three roommates were directly responsible for Wone's death. But Kirschner said his office thinks one of the men, if not all three, was involved in cleaning the crime scene and that the men know who killed Wone and are covering for the killer.

Prosecutors have charged Joseph Price, Victor J. Zaborsky and Dylan M. Ward with obstruction in Wone's killing Aug. 2, 2006. After working late, Wone, 32, of Oakton, had spent the night at the Dupont Circle house in the 1500 block of Swann Street NW shared by the three men. No one has been charged with stabbing Wone to death.

The three men and their attorneys stood at the defense table as Kirschner gave new details of his office's plans. Kirschner said the prosecution's "theories are evolving" and that investigators were looking at Price's brother, Michael Price, and his possible involvement in the death.

Just months after Wone's killing, Michael Price was arrested in the burglary of his brother's house, Kirschner said. Prosecutors had discovered that Michael Price was enrolled in a phlebotomy course at Montgomery College and was absent from class the evening Wone was killed. Prosecutors said Wone had been drugged intravenously and that there were also nine postmortem puncture wounds on Wone's body. Price, who has attended a majority of the court hearings in the case since his brother was arrested in 2008, was absent from Friday's hearing.

Kirschner also said that his office no longer planned to introduce evidence that Wone was sexually assaulted. Instead, he plans to prove that Wone was restrained when he was stabbed and unable to move during the attack. Kirschner also said his office was investigating whether Wone was drugged with a substance that left him paralyzed.

Prosecutors said they are using various experts, including an FBI toxicologist, to test evidence and Wone's tissue, organs and bodily fluids. Leibovitz warned the attorneys that she did not plan on delaying the May 10 trial, regardless of how much more testing of evidence they hoped to do.

Defense attorneys showed signs of frustration when Kirschner told them and the judge that the 911 recordings from the night of Wone's death had been destroyed.

The attorneys for the three men had previously filed a motion requesting separate trials for their clients; Leibovitz said she would issue a ruling on that motion at a later time. The next hearing is scheduled for April 5.

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